A Visit “Home.”


Off we go again. Tomorrow we leave Tokyo for yet another trip. But this one is to the US. For my husband, it is a business trip. He will be working for one week from his office in ATL, then the second week, he will be somewhere in Pennsylvania. For me, it will be two weeks at “our home” near Atlanta, visiting with our family.

Technically, it is still “our home”… We own it, and it still contains most of our belongings. But… right now it just doesn’t feel like home. While we have been living in Tokyo (for a year and a half now) our daughter and her new husband have been living in our house. They have become our renters and caretakers. And… they have made it “their home.” They have changed some things, and they do some things differently than we did when we were there. That is ok… I certainly understand. It just feels weird to me.

We were really happy when our daughter moved back to Atlanta and agreed to this arrangement. It made things so much simpler for us… not having to move out of the house and lease it to strangers, but it isn’t without drawbacks. It is nice to have family in the house, and it is nice to have a place to stay when we do come back for the occasional holiday and visit. And it is still our family home where we can all gather to spend time together.

That said, it just feels awkward when we go back to “our home,” but it really isn’t our home. My kitchen is no longer “my kitchen.” The master bedroom and suite have been taken over by my daughter and son-in-law. Our things are still there: our furniture, knick-knacks, clothes, and other possessions… but it just doesn’t feel right. And… I will admit it… it does make me feel just a bit stressed.

I have spoken to other spouses in my husband’s company, who are temporarily living the expat life somewhere, and they say the same things. “Home” just doesn’t feel like “home” right now.

We are about halfway through our time in Tokyo. We are enjoying it so much, and we will be sad to leave Tokyo. We have made that tiny apartment “our home” for now. And I know, when the time comes to return to the US after this assignment, we will make that home in Atlanta into “OUR home” again.

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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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